Like most aspects of our lives, the process of finding true love has moved online.
But what about the old-fashioned ways of meeting a mate? What if you’re middle-aged and haven’t dated in what feels like (or may actually be) decades? Where do you start if you feel out-of-practice? How has the dating scene changed since you left it?
Here are 9 easy tips to help you get back in the saddle on your quest for romance:
- Be honest about what you want.
It’s okay to say you’re marriage-minded. It’s equally okay to say you’re not, because all you really want is just a pleasant little fling. What’s not okay is dishonesty. Not being honest about what you truly want is a surefire path to disappointment and heartbreak. Always be honest. Start by being honest with yourself.
- Give other people a chance.
When you were 20 years old, you knew from across the room, before he even opened his mouth, that you wanted him to ask you out. Yes, that was your hormones at work. But at 50, it will serve you better to slow down and chat before you come to any final decisions. First dates can be awkward, especially if you haven’t had one in a while. Don’t be hasty to reject somebody.
- Don’t view friendship as the runner-up prize.
Friends are the currency of a happy life. Whether male or female, friends enrich our existence. Yet we all remember the crush in high school who told us they wanted to be “just friends.” But being friends is not the same as the consolation prize in a contest or race. In some ways, friendship is better than romantic involvement. Nobody has enough friends.
- Get out and look in the right place.
This is the age-old “church or bar?” question. Where you go out to meet new people matters. You need to go where people gather. Where that will be will depend a great deal on what you’re looking for.
- Ask for help.
If you seek a serious relationship, ask your family members, friends, and clergy for help. These people know you best. Ask them to help you meet people they think may want the same things that you want. If that feels awkward, at least tell them you’re ready to date.
- Be confident in yourself.
Self-confidence is the greatest romantic catalyst in the world. Nobody else can appreciate you if you don’t value yourself. Project self-confidence and the world is your oyster. But be sure to know the difference between self-confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is not attractive.
- Join in.
Mr. Right won’t just come and knock on your front door. You have to leave your house to meet him. Accept invitations. Follow what interests you. But do get out of the house to follow it.
- Be open to adventure.
You probably didn’t think you’d be hunting for a new romantic partner at this point in your life. At times, it feels daunting and depressing. But if you perceive it as an adventure, you will eventually strike pay dirt. Laugh at the mistakes and shrug off the missteps. Arrive for each date with a smile, and express interest in the person with whom you’re meeting. Nobody wants to spend time with somebody who only talks about what a jerk their ex is and how messed up their life is.
- Expect setbacks.
You thought you met The One at the neighbor’s party. He talked to you all evening. He was funny and smart, and you both felt so comfortable. Then he disappeared into thin air, and you never heard from him again.
Not even science can explain it. But a magical evening sometimes is magical just for that evening. Enjoy the precious hours and how good they made you feel. Then move on, understanding that forces beyond your control are capping your time together. It is what it is.